The 15 Year Performance Assessment

With the ruling party’s latest exercise in what it describes as ‘deep renewal’ to amend itself of self-serving members with state powers than working towards an improved social order, there is a great deal of skepticism among political commentators and the public at large. With the appearance of the veteran EPRDFites on a lengthy TV interview, any hope of a paradigm shift in leadership is waning thin. Even judging by some of those who appeared on the show, the Front’s commitment to address the core problems is questioned given their tarnished reputation associated with corruption.

Against the back drop of the horrendous shocking and despicable fire outbreak at Qilinto Prison, where at least 23 people are reported to have died, the Ethiopian 2009 New Year has just set in. The “Listen To Our Voices” committee members, who had been kept behind bars, have now been set free under the pretext of amnesty. At any rate, that freedom includes around 10,000 prisoners, who have been set free from prison cells across the country. The Qilinto Prison fire is also a black mark on the history of the ruling Party.

Representatives of the quadruple joint parties of the EPRDF have been telling their EBC viewers all their assessment results of the last 15 years. This was in a special TV show, which was supposed to have examined the last 15 years of the 25-year total period in power. If the officials had planned to evaluate the political atmosphere of the country, including the Oromia and Amhara regional states, experts say that the period taken as a reference is simply non-inclusive. At best it could only refer to the splitting reference for the party when the former Prime Minister Ato Meles Zenawi is often quoted to have alleged that the internal cell had rotten.

Politics, however, is not a quantum science or an arithmetic progression theory that often refers backwards. Politics, and party Politics in particular, do not function that way. Otherwise, we have to keep telling ourselves that a once corporal in the military of the previous Ethiopian government, and a power as a result of the war with Eritrea, could never have been the “speaker of the House” only because of his roots and opportunistic stand.

Instead of facing his interviewers, he was rolling his big eyes sideways as if to get approval from others. About two years ago, when the Ambo University community called a strike and caused havoc that resulted in property damage, Aba Dulla Gemeda was sent as part of an emergency peace finding mission. He had promised that proper investigations would be conducted and that demands would be answered.

His words were not kept and the promises vanished into thin air. During last week’s television show, he could not even seem to grasp the gist of the questions. All that transpired out of his answers was the fact that he seems to have been carried away by the newly built “Rapid Highways”, high rise buildings and bridge constructions, and all the other mega projects planned but not realised. He tried to appear as qualified as a person of his post should be without having any substance in his answers.

The former Ambassador to Belgium, the humble agricultural economist and soft spoken, Dr. Kassu Elalla, was telling his viewers that as per the provisions prescribed in the Constitution, everyone has equal rights and an equal share of responsibility. He cannot be expected to delve into matters that go beyond reach. He believes that every official is appointed to each office according to his merits.

He seems to know nothing about all the spoils of the war, including electric generators removed from towns like Agaro having been carried away. He has not even heard about who went to the 2016 Rio Olympics and represented the country in the swimming competition and who made Ethiopia, the country with a long history in Olympic competitions, a laughing matter.

Ato Abey Tsehay, who is considered as the political mastermind steering the wheel of leadership from his back seat, was trying to present himself as the most loyal to his party. He should feel the actual burden of responsibility more heavily than the others.

Ato Bereket Simon, who had just returned from Gondar, is believed to have squarely faced and assessed what the people have told him openly and straight forward. And this is not without a reason. Ato Bereket was better informed about what is going on on the ground. He must have realised that the people have conquered their fear and have aired their disrespect to anybody who is not living up to their oath or responsibility.

However, he was the only one out of them all who hit the right cord when he said that people of each constituency, according to the law, can demand to draw back his voting voice and request to have a “vote of confidence” session, like any democratic nation. Where he fell short, however, was how this withdrawal process could be carried out without the free press.

Of course, that does not mean there is no press at all. There is the EBC multiple channel that serves to pour down its gutters from only one source. We are not expecting free press. What we need is the freedom and security of reporters to ask at least professional questions. Officials must give replies and not hang up telephone calls from reporters. We are now used to excuses by these officials to be busy attending a conference or a meeting. That is obviously a lame excuse because almost every office at any time of the day cannot and should not be preoccupied with meetings and conferences, as if they are paid for doing only that.

According to the four party members of the panel, the EPRDF executive committee has conducted the deepest assessment of the last 15 years’ performance achievement, aiming to reach the crux of the whole problem and take the appropriate corrective measures wherever it may be necessary. Similar thorough evaluations would be carried out throughout the lines of hierarchies. Some may hope or speculate that a few demotions occur – or to put in its right perspective, a few faces may change or shift placements.

Unfortunately, however, none of the panellists told us what coefficients or performance assessment criteria will be used. We do not know if these assessment conferences are measured by the number of hours spent by the members holding meetings or workshops, or by one person expressing everything he feels, quoting or repeating what another has earlier said.

What kind of a paradigm shift should we expect, apart from the same trend of up and down for the sake of giving the impression of renewal?

By GIRMA FEyissa

Published on Sep 20,2016 [ Vol 17 ,No 855]



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